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California cannabis workers, massage therapists now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

Some 'alternative care' sectors are learning that workers are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine under new state guidance.

SACRAMENTO, California — Some industries are getting clarification on when their workers can get the coronavirus vaccine in California. 

Among those industries are a couple of' alternative care' sectors such as cannabis and massage therapy. Both are now getting guidance that workers are eligible to get the vaccine under certain tiers within Phase 1. 

According to an update on COVID-19 vaccine guidelines, "Cannabis industry employees are included in Phase 1a for medicinal cannabis and Phase 1b Food and Agriculture for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution. Medical cannabis workers should be accommodated as necessary in Phase 1b, Tier 1, by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications"

Cannabis workers have been considered essential under California's guidelines. Since cannabis is medicinal, the sector falls under pharmaceuticals and medical goods and supplies. As such, workers within retail stores for cannabis are being prioritized alongside other essential workers such as teachers and school staff. 

Additionally, massage therapists received clarification that workers in California could get the vaccine as part of Phase 1A. 

Amy Yan, a representative with the California Department of Public Health told the California Massage Therapy Council that "Massage Therapists are considered Alternative Medical Practitioners. They may receive their vaccine under Phase 1a, tier 3."

At the same time, some fitness trainers in California were able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after state health officials created a loophole that helped them qualify as health care workers. KGO-TV reports that in January, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidelines on vaccination allocation that classified outdoor recreation as health care, the first tier eligible to get the vaccine along with people over 75. 

Some fitness clubs jumped at the chance of getting their employees vaccinated. But last Friday, state health officials revised those rules in the same update that reclassified cannabis industry workers and massage therapists, and now those guidelines no longer include outdoor recreation as health care. 

California also clarified that workers in the veterinary services would be considered Phase 1B, Tier 1. According to the state's website, people in Phase 1A (all tiers) and Phase 1B, Tier 1 including individuals 65 and older, and workers in education and childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture are eligible for the vaccine as supply allows. 

Phase 1B also specifically includes these people in the following education and child care settings:

  • All formal and informal childcare workers, including daycare providers
  • All staff in colleges, universities, junior colleges, community colleges, and other post-secondary education facilities
  • All staff in educational support services and administration
  • All staff in Pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools
  • All staff in technical and trade schools
  • Any other workers involved in child and/or student care, including school bus drivers and monitors, crosswalk guards, etc.

   

WATCH MORE: Sacramento cannabis business H.A.S.H. wins $50,000 grant